Once we begin to consider a theme or concept, like living meaningfully for example, doesn’t it seem that you become aware of what actually is meaningful? I do.
Sometimes I think of meaning or purpose as a calling I feel drawn too. But then I think of relationships and the importance of family and friends. That is what I like most about Millman’s book The Four Purposes of Life . It validates several aspects of meaning.. let me outline them for you with my own observations following each:
- learning life’s lessons: I hear people referring to this often when they say things like “there must me something I am supposed to learn from this”. I look back on my own life’s challenges and recognize learning that has happened. Some people think we deliberately choose our earth situation to learn specific things. Could be. perhaps that is what family and friends are for.
- finding your career and calling: from my perspective this doesn’t go away. Perhaps the search for it diminishes because we know more about it but the shape of it changes as life moves on. Sometimes our career doesn’t reflect our calling. sometimes we need help seeing the connection. Sometimes work meets needs and hobbies are our calling.
- discovering your path: I personally find that sometimes this is difficult to find or notice. It seems it is not the same as the one above but could even be the underlying piece. But not always. It could be that this one becomes more evident as we get closer to retirement age. we often refer to life’s journey or path. What do we mean by that?
- attending to this arising moment: Millman calls this one the integration of the three above and I am still pondering this one. However, I do feel there is a lot of overlap with the top three. I am still reading his book in between and around a couple of others. Perhaps I will better understand it as I read on. I catch a glimpse of it off and on and it is still not formulated into words yet.
Why am I so fascinated by meaning and purpose in life? Perhaps it is one of life’s lessons for me. It is important. It is important to leaders and to followers. It is important to those who are currently fighting for their rights or for the rights of others and it is important to the people they are fighting. It is important to the religious people and for them is connected to the practice of their religion and it is important to those who practice a form of private spirituality because they know life is bigger than just now. I wonder if it is also important to professed atheists because without a sense of something bigger, what is their purpose? Perhaps it is very much community focused.
If you send me your thoughts about this topic, I will not post them but hold them as sacred and confidential because they are often very personal. If I have enough material, I will try to integrate it into a summary and post that without names. It is helpful to me to hear what others think and how they work with it. I may respond by email. Please respond at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Knowing what is meaningful is only a starting pint. Out of it must come action or behaviours that reflect it. How does one make changes in their lives related to what is meaningful to them?
Till next time,
Fall Retreat: Self Care — Soul Care. For details go to http://marieknapp.com/events/retreat-self-care-soul-care/